Stinging Be-s, Burning Minds, and the“AM-s” of Christ

2021 is breathing its last. In a matter of days, we will be on the other side, with 365 days of unexplored opportunities, unseen wonders, and a bucket load of regrets awaiting us. For many of us, things might not have gone as planned. Some might have wished to relocate; others might have hoped to get married, yet others might have sought to be recognized as someone at some great place.

Should be, could be, and would be are three be-s that will buzz in our minds until we decide to “be free.”

The Be of the Present- Should be

Should be:  that ought to be

Perhaps the easiest one to fix, ‘should be’ regrets, are manageable, more so because none of us really know for sure how things should be! Sure enough, we can somewhat predict the consequences of certain actions (universal truths). Yet, with our limited human understanding, we can never know for certain how a particular thing ought to be at the moment.

Often, our ‘should be-s’ are dictated by those close to us- our family, acquaintances, and community at large. For example, you should be employed by this age____, should be married by this____, should have this much savings____, should be at this place ____by this time.

Since all our ‘should be-s’ are at their best a sum total of the most accurate guess, failing to miss the mark with a ‘should be’ might not result in long-term regrets.

But when the ‘should be’ gets combined with the ‘could be’, the resulting regrets take deeper seats.

The Be of the Future- Could be

Could be:  able to be or become; possible

It’s a good thing to have a vision that drives us to move on, but it’s another to be lost in distant possibilities, oblivious to the more pressing needs at hand. When a particular “should be” doesn’t work out in our favor, we are susceptible to achieving a new ‘could be,’ at the cost of evading the current reality at hand.

Broken marriages are perhaps one of the saddest consequences of this dangerous mix. Our marriage should have been this way, but it didn’t. So it could be that there is another person, a perfect fit with whom I could have a more fulfilling relationship. The result? A painful separation whose echoes will reverberate through all future generations.

The Be of Multiverse- Would be

Would be:  desiring

or professing to be

This is indeed the most lethal of all be-s. Just like the hypothetical space (multiverse) in Marvel, the ‘would-be’ candidates desire and even attempt to be what they are not. Removed way beyond reality, they aim to achieve another identity, pretending to be what they are not.

The result? A lack of appreciation for what one has and a spirit of bitterness that overshadows any joy that comes their way.

Overcoming Your “Be-s” with His “I AM”

Rise above your regrets- is easier said than done. I am nowhere implying that we are free from the repercussions of our actions and that we shouldn’t live more responsibly. We can’t evade the consequences, but we can choose not to dwell there. Dead memories, especially of a regretful past, can lead us nowhere. And now is the time to set yourself free from the three be-s.

But before that, we need to recognize the roots of the three be-s

  • Should be- perceived expectations
  • Could be- perceived strengths
  • Would be- perceived identity

Interestingly, all our “be-s”- whether present or future- stem from our perception of how things ought to be or can be. And the key to breaking free is grafting our be-s in the “Am-s” of Christ.

Moses, Moses, Take off Your Sandals

After about four centuries of slavery in Egypt, God visited Moses in a burning bush[1] to tell him how He would be redeeming His people and leading them to the promised land. When asked for a name by Moses, God introduces Himself as the great “I Am Who I Am.” He is what He is- nothing more nor less. He isn’t a should be, could be, or would be God.  He is “I AM.”

Knowing who He is, is key to grafting our be-s in Christ. But before we can get close, we need to let go of our sandals[2] (perceptions). The lost world has nothing to offer to the sons of God, and unless we establish our true identity in Christ, we will only be swayed and tossed by the doubts and regrets of life.

So, the next time you are tempted to think about any of the be-s, meditate on the “I AMs” of Christ:

When You Think You AreJesus Says
LostI am the way, the truth, and the life.
(John 4:16)
TiredCome to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
(Matthew 11:28-30)
UnlovedI am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep.
(John 10:11)
InadequateI am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
(John 15:5)

These are just four of the countless promises that Jesus has made to His people, and the best part is there is no labor involved in achieving any of these! it is all done and accomplished once and for all, and our part is to receive by faith, through grace[3]!

Christ Alone, Our Cornerstone!

Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.

Matthew 7:24-25

Life is like a building, and every new day is a new stone that gets added to the monument in progress. We often circle around the same stones (regrets) for days, even months, limiting our growth by holding on, like Gollum, to our ’ precious.’ But the truth is, there are no horizontal buildings- only vertical ones.

Undoubtedly, upward climbs are more challenging than horizontal strides, and yet we have our blessed assurance in Christ, our unshakeable cornerstone[4]. Though it may rain and winds beat around, our “am-s” in Christ will overcome the be-s of the world[5], now and forevermore.

[1] Exodus 3

[2] Exodus 3:5

[3] Ephesians 2:8-9

[4] Ephesians 2:20

[5] John 16:33

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